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ITHS Holds Grand Opening of New Wrestling Room

Island Trees High School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its brand new, state-of-the-art wrestling room. The new wrestling facility, which was formerly a weight room, received a complete makeover over the summer. The room comes complete with new wrestling mats on the floor, pads on the walls, a fresh paint job, a public-address sound system and a big-screen television to view practice tapes. The room has also been dedicated to Ted Maurice Petersen, a New York State Wrestling Hall of Famer who passed away in 1989. Petersen taught and coached wrestling in the Island Trees School District for 30 years, serving 27 of those years as the varsity coach.

In that span, his wrestling teams compiled a record of 325 wins, 70 losses and four ties. Under Petersen’s watch, Island Trees won the Nassau County team championship three times, in 1976, 1977 and 1984. The school had 28 individual Nassau County champions and six New York state champions with Petersen at the helm.

Among the notable guests on hand for the ceremony were Superintendent Charles Murphy, the Island Trees Board of Education, County Legislator Dennis Dunne, Island Trees High School junior varsity head coach Ryan Vinberg and dozens of current and former wrestlers from the district.

Island Trees High School athletic director James Cranmer noted that the idea for the room randomly came about at one of Superintendent Murphy’s recent town hall meetings. “Here we are, just six months later, and the dream became a reality,” said Cranmer. “We have great mats, new pads on the walls, and head custodian Harry Villone spent a lot of time painting the room and setting up the sound system. There’s a lot of things happening in this room and it’s a very special day.”

Bulldogs varsity wrestling coach Damian Garcia told the crowd that “the Island Trees community is like no other in wrestling because of the family-like atmosphere and the commitment to each other. I’m just so proud for Mrs. Petersen that we’re able to put the Island Trees Wrestling Room back where it should be, up here in the top of the building.”